Here’s 10 facts you need to know about these fascinating creatures and the issues they face.

  • Orangutan means ‘person of the forest’
  • There are three species – Bornean, Sumatran orangutan and Tapanuli
  • All three species are classified as Critically Endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, with fewer than 70,000 Bornean, 14,000 Sumatran and 800 Tapanuli orangutans left in the wild
  • Orangutans are only found in the wild in two countries, Indonesia and Malaysia, in the peat-swamp forests of Borneo and Sumatra
  • They face many threats in the wild, including large-scale deforestation for agriculture (such as palm oil) and illegal hunting for the pet trade
  • There are thought to be thousands of orangutans living in captivity worldwide, including more than 1,100 in zoos alone

    A shocking image by wildlife photographer Aaron Gekoski

  • In the Far East, especially Thailand, they are also exploited for entertainment in circus-style shows. An investigation by photographer Aaron Gekoski for Born Free revealed shocking images of orangutans forced to perform in a mock boxing match
  • Born Free supports the Orangutan Foundation’s work to save and protect the world’s precious orangutans and their habitat. They rescue orangutans in need of help and reintroduce them back to the wild, and work alongside local communities to protect crucial orangutan habitats
  • Born Free strongly opposes the exploitation and keeping of orangutans, and all wild animals, in captivity
  • Born Free is protecting the habitat of Tapanuli orangutan by speaking out against the construction of a hydroelectric dam in northern Sumatra.